Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Benediction - The Grand Leveller [1991]

First I must say that I'm very content with my decision to give Benediction's sophomore effort a chance after listening to the highly mediocre "Subconscious Terror." After hearing all the talk of how these guys were similar to Bolt Thrower (My favorite death metal band), I was extremely disappointed with my first impression of these guys, but luckily "The Grand Leveller" is light years ahead of Benediction's previous effort. Everything about this record is better: the songwriting, riffs, vocals, solos, drumming and everything else. 

On "Subconscious Terror" everything seemed so bland and predictable. I don't recall any moment where my head was banging or I was intrigued by a single solo or riff. On this record, however, Benediction decided to change things up structure wise. Not every song is written in the same fashion, and there is plenty of variety to be found here, riff-wise anyway. The undeniable Bolt Thrower influence is present once those doomy melodies on "Jumping At Shadows" enter the fray, while "Opulence of the Absolute" features some great tremolo sections that would make the American masters proud, as well as some midpaced riffs that are absolutely crushing. "The Grand Leveller" is most reminiscent of the band's fellow countrymen (and woman) in it's creeping, midpaced mayhem but the title track here shows off the band's ability to go at much faster tempos and it sounds awesome. 

Even though the debut full-length of Benediction featured the legendary Barney Greenway of Napalm Death fame, the vocals on "The Grand Leveller" fit the music much better. Dave Ingram's vocal performance here adds a darker atmosphere to the sound, whereas Barney didn't really add anything to the music, he was just growling in front of the already mediocre music. The drumming on here isn't much to brag about, but it did it's job just fine so no complaints here. The bass is pretty good throughout, thumping along audibly while also providing some nice fills on the intros to "Born in a Fever" and "Jumping At Shadows." 

Some might complain about the overall comparison of Benediction to the more well known Bolt Thrower because it makes them seem like a subordinate, but it's definitely a compliment. "The Grand Leveller" is a fantastic death metal record and one of the best to come from the UK, so if you haven't heard these guys then you now have some homework to do. 

"Jumping At Shadows"
"Opulence of the Absolute"
"Undirected Aggression"

Final Rating
Masterpiece [9.0/10]

Monday, December 26, 2011

DVC - Descendant Upheaval [1989]

These guys are true pioneers. Not only did they release one of the first albums to be considered a death metal release (more on that later), but they were incorporating famous movies into their "gimmick," long before all those bands with names like "Nazgul" and "Amon Amarth" started popping up. Yes, DVC is indeed an acronym that translates to "Darth Vader's Church," and if he did go to church and they were playing music like the songs found on "Descendant Upheaval," I might actually be inclined to visit the holy grounds. 

"Descendant Upheaval" is considered to be a death metal album, but why? Where are the evil sounding death metal tremolo passages? Where are the blast beats? Sure, the vocals sound like they could be fronting a death metal band, but they also sound like they could be commanding some random grindcore act, basically resembling a cross between Oscar Garcia (Terrorizer) and Karl Willetts (Bolt Thrower). This album definitely treads along the same waters that Bolt Thrower's "In Battle There Is No Law" did, taking heavy influence from the thrash bands of the 80's and throwing in some punk. Instead of placing emphasis on heaviness and capturing an evil sound, DVC just onslaughts you with catchy riffs that will get your headbanging. The opening riffs in "Embalmed In Stone" are absolutely brilliant and wouldn't sound out of place whatsoever on an album like "World Downfall." 

Another instance where the "Grindcore" sound is clear is the inclusion of the bass. The bass sound can be heard pretty easily and it gets plenty of opportunities to shine on its own ("Southside Dirthead" and "Licentious Abandon") and get your head bobbing along. The drums are pretty fast, but the need to add blast beats never occurs with DVC and the need isn't necessary either. Another thing to mention is that the drums always have some kind of cool little fill or added nuance to the music which is always a positive. 

So, is "Descendant Upheaval" a pure death metal album? No, not in this writer's opinion. There are certain instances where death metal trademarks can be found, but it almost seemed like something foreign to the band. The attempts to incorporate a slower or doomy sound on the intro to "Eve Angel" don't sound as awesome as they do with other bands at the time (Autopsy and Obituary in particular) and the intro to "Bow of Mortis" is nice, but not nearly convincing enough to declare DVC's debut full-length a death metal album.

This isn't the greatest metal album that you haven't heard of, but it's definitely worth checking out, especially if you're a fan of grindcore or early primitive death metal. On a closing note, make sure you don't skip the intro track "Cranium Overture," unless of course you are a freak and don't like Star Wars. 

"Mourning Sun"
"Embalmed in Stone"
"Descendant Upheaval"

Final Rating
Awesome [8.5/10]

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Invocator - Excursion Demise [1991]

If you thought Artillery was the only thrash band from Denmark conjuring up some wicked metal, then Invocator is here to enlighten you with their brand of technical thrash. I'm not saying that these guys are better than Artillery, because they're not. "By Inheritance" is one of the greatest thrash albums ever made, but "Excursion Demise" isn't bad either and is probably better than some of Artillery's material. While both bands play the more technical style of thrash, there is absolutely no way that Invocator could be mixed up with Artillery. 

The most notable difference is definitely the speed and the death metal influence on "Excursion Demise." These crazy danish bastards really wanted to go fast because this record is pretty much a blitzkrieg throughout with an occasional midpaced moment. Luckily for Invocator, they knew that an album consisting of nothing but speed throughout could get a little dull after awhile, and they manage to mix in some nice breaks here and there. Some of them are extremely headbang friendly ("The Persistence From Memorial Chasm" and "Schismatic Injective Therapy") and add some heaviness to this speed-demon. Along with the occasional breaks in tracks the instrumental featuring a near-sinister sounding acoustic "(...To A Twisted Recess of Mind)" serves as a great transition between the title track (The best song on this record by the way) and "Forsaken Ones." 

As mentioned earlier, this record is ridiculously fast, which is both a positive and a negative on "Excursion Demise." It's a positive because there are plenty of stellar riffs here and there that are a result of the speed. The riffs found in the songs "Beyond Insufferable Dormancy" and the title track are fantastic. They tend to follow a more death metal style, but they're more controlled and are perfect for headbanging along to. As for the negative part, some of the riffs just come off as spastic or repetitive. There aren't any songs in particular because this is present in a lot of them, but there is usually a really good riff in the same song to make up for it. 

Another negative aspect of this album is the length of the tracks. I have no problems with longer songs, as long as they can keep my attention and to be honest Invocator failed there for the most part. "Schismatic Injective Therapy" is probably the biggest victim of this. There are definitely some moments of brilliance shown on the track but it goes on too long and could have been cut down a bit. If a band is going to write songs that are longer, they need to have enough dynamics in the music to keep one interested, not sit there and wank on the guitar solos. Seriously, these guys put a lot of attention on the guitar solos, and while they're not horrible they're nothing special and they dominate the music for quite some time. To put things simple, there should have been more focus on the riffs and overall structure than spending too much time being a fretboard warrior. 

Aside from those problems there is a lot right with this album. Jacob Hansen's vocal performance is a definite highlight here. He sounds like a really sweet mix of Chuck Schuldiner and Chris Bailey, and the way he just spits out the words in rapid-fire fashion reminds one of Steve Reynolds. It doesn't matter if he's barking out lyrics at the speed of the extremely fast riffs or if he's singing with the heavier midpaced riffs, Hansen's performance deserves a beer because it's really well done. The drumming isn't anything too special but the speed on this record has a lot to do with the intense work behind the kit. The bass playing here is pretty tight and even gets some moments to shine on its own ("Occurrence Concealed" and "(...To A Twisted Recess of Mind)"). 

The verdict here? Invocator's debut album "Excursion Demise" is some very solid metal that any fan of thrash should be able to enjoy. This record definitely could have been better, but it's still a very worthwhile album that possesses some top-notch material and another that proved there was some great thrash in the nineties. 

"Excursion Demise"
"Occurrence Concealed"
"Beyond Insufferable Dormancy"

Final Rating
Awesome [8.7/10]

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Nuclear Tribunal - Attack of the Salami-Smokers from Venus [1998]

This release sounds like thrash, grind and death metal all got together and spawned the not so perfect child. Nuclear Tribunal aren't the most known band on the block and there's fairly good reason for that. This isn't the greatest album in exsistence, but the eye catching artwork and the humour on the album alone make it pretty great and worth reviewing. I really do enjoy this album a lot but I could picture someone hearing this and asking themselves why they're listening to this garbage. "Attack of the Salami-Smokers from Venus" is definitely interesting enough to look into further.

The music on the album is pretty simple deathgrind played at a mid to slower pace which does pick up often enough to create a hammering assault. The drums are mainly blast beats and just a lot of use of the high hats and snare. The bass on the album is unfortunately not very audible (I'd be surprised if you could hear it at all) and the guitars are pretty straight forward with the music. The tone is more of a crunchy thrash tone than a grindcore or death metal tone but the tempos are definitely those that you would find in death metal or grindcore. The vocals are honestly, the worst part of the album, in my opinion. The production or whatever was done to them makes it sound like the vocalist is trying to perform underwater.

I bought this album off of Amazon for about four dollars (including shipping and handling) just because of the artwork. It was a random purchase that I'm not disappointed about at all. It's a fun album and I enjoy the music enough as uninspired and simple as it is.

"Nuclear Tribunal (Hate Their Audience)"
"I Came to Shoot Your Dicks Off"

Final Rating
Mediocre [7.0/10]

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Ritual Sacrifice - The Inhuman Race (Demo) [1990]

If you think that thrash died in the nineties, then you really need to look harder. There may not have been as many awesome releases as there were in the eighties, but there was a lot of quality stuff, and this demo is proof of that. Ritual Sacrifice would later go on to produce some metal that gravitated more towards death metal and grindcore, but on "The Inhuman Race," the thrash that they created is some top-notch, intense music that is severely under appreciated. 

The seeds for Ritual Sacrifice's death/grind evolution were firmly planted here, although very subtly, but it worked out fantastically. The drumming on this record is excellent. The fast-paced assault here reminds the listener of Cryptic Slaughter a bit and gives the band a kind of crossover/grind feel. There are also some great fills present throughout, and it's just little nuances like this that make this demo and the music much better. The bass also shines at times with some very cool little doodles and solo parts. The vocals here are also stellar. They're more aggressive than your average thrash vocalist, but they're not full on death metal vocals or even death/thrash vocals for that matter, but they suit the music perfectly. Another notable part pertaining to vocals, are the awesome gang shouts during the choruses. They're just eargasmic. 

The real meat of this demo though, comes from the riffs. The riffs here are catchier than the flu in a hospital. The midpaced riffs are guaranteed headbangers and the faster riffs can eviscerate an entire venue, especially when backed by those explosive drums. The intro riff on "Illusions of Sanity" is about as headbang-friendly as a riff can get and the thrashing assault on "This is Your God" could rival tunes by much more known bands such as Exodus or Anthrax. 

There really isn't much more to say about this demo. It's some straightforward, no bullshit kind of thrash that is meant to wreck your neck. If you haven't had the pleasure of listening to this demo before, then you have to remedy that situation immediately.

"This is Your God"
"Illusions of Sanity"
"Day of Retribution"

Final Rating
Awesome [8.7/10]

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Master - Master [1990]

If you notice, the title says "1990," yet the songs on this record were all recorded earlier on demos in 1985. That's two years after the spawn of thrash and the same year that Possessed's "Seven Churches" was released, an album that is widely cited as the first death metal album. While Master's debut album is very thrash-oriented, it is indeed a death metal album, similar to Malevolent Creation or Death on "Scream Bloody Gore." A very thrashy death metal band, but more on the death metal side. 

The sound here is pretty simple. Just cutthroat and aggressive death metal with some thrash tendencies. It's basically what Sepultura would sound like if they were actually a death metal band like many people claim (Those people need their head checked, I might add). The riffs range from heavy riffs full of some of the best powerchord combinations out there to fast thrashy riffs. All of these riffs are placed perfectly throughout the record, never leaving the listener with a boring moment. Just take a listen to the title track or "Pay to Die" and it will all become clear. The drumming on this record is also top-notch work. Nothing overly fancy but the speed and timing is perfect, plus there are some places where the drums add some heaviness or speed at just the right time ("Mangled Dehumanization" and "Funeral Bitch"). Paul Speckmann's vocals are also a great touch to the music. They're the perfect cross between the more aggressive thrash vocalists (think the Teutonic bands) and your typical death metal vocalist, which reflects the overall music quite well.

Simply put, this is one of the most underrated and overlooked death metal albums out there. If someone were to ask about the best American death metal albums, chances are you wouldn't hear them say "Master," but instead the usual "Altars of Madness," "Leprosy" or "Tomb of the Mutilated." While those are all great albums, this album is just as good, if not better. So don't be a wanker, check these guys out if you haven't already. 

"Unknown Soldier"
"Funeral Bitch"

Final Rating
Masterpiece [9.5/10]

Deranged - Place of Torment (Demo) [1989]

This demo is easily one of the most vicious demos to come from Canada. Deranged were a thrash metal band from British Columbia that formed in 1987. They played an extreme hybrid of thrash metal with a bit of early death metal thrown in (mostly in the vocals and drumming). They released two demos ("Premonitory Nightmare" and "Place of Torment") before changing their name to Debt of Nature and releasing one more demo before disbanding in 1993. I myself am extremely dissappointed with the fact that they never went anywhere in the thrash metal scene even though "Place of Torment" is something beautiful. It's fast, vicious and sounds pretty much like Morbid Saint does. What a shame.

The music on the album is extremely savage and the guitars sound like they could literally rip through your chest like a chainsaw. The bass is hardly audible as the production is only as good as one could get for a demo recording in 1989. The drums are very standard with lots of use of your average thrash metal drum beats and there's a lot of use of doubles and triplets with the bass pedals. However, that doesn't take away from the music as it actually works extremely well with the ripping guitars and the very harsh vocals. I really like the vocals on this demo a lot because they make me think of bands like Demolition Hammer and Morbid Saint.

"Place of Torment" is definitely primitive and raw but it is definitely something that should be checked out. Extremely hidden gem. It's really too bad I can't buy this on vinyl anywhere though. So spread the word and show this fucking raw piece of art to your friends. Hopefully, they won't be disappointed. If you love bands like the two mentioned earlier (Demolition Hammer and Morbid Saint) or you just in general love yourself some savage thrash metal, this demo's for you.

"Eminence of Terror"
"The Burning"

Final Rating
Awesome [8.2/10]

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Gutted - Bleed for Us to Live [1994]

Gutted are probably one of the more underrated American death metal bands. Who the hell is Gutted? Well, they're a death metal band from Ohio that was formed in 1992 by three brothers. Their debut album, "Bleed for Us to Live" was released in 1994 and it's one of the best death metal albums to come from the USA, in my opinion. Up there with albums like Deicide's "Legion" and Autopsy's "Mental Funeral" which are both top quality classics, as we are all aware (I hope, or shame on you). This is some of the best headbang your fucking pants off death metal.

The album starts off with the sounds of rain which is followed by a slow, evil keyboard intro on the song "Bleed" which then goes into an extremely heavy, death metal assault. The use of keyboards on this album creates an extreme feeling of that evil attitude they want to give off. These guys mean business. They're here to play death metal the way it was meant to be played; evil, mid-paced and heavier than a two tonne hammer coming directly down on the middle of your skull. 

The guitars have that ripping death metal tone that you'd find in most American death metal and the bass is actually really audible on the album. I really enjoy the bass on this album because it gallops along with the music at that steady mid-pace that is pretty consistent throughout the album except for a few spots here and there in each song where everything speeds up and pulverizes you from the inside out. The drums on the album are really nice too because it's not just blast beats everywhere. There's actually not too much use of the blast beat technique seen very much on this album, which is a little unfortunate. Lots of variety in the drumming though on the album, which I also really appreciate. And the double bass on the album just obliterates everything because it's audible for one thing and it's incredibly hammering.

Gutted are the perfect example of what you are all missing out on. Heavy, pulverizing death metal with great atmosphere and evilness to it. If you're a fan of American death metal, this album is just for you. I suggest you track this album down and add it to your collection, immediately.

"Cold In the Coffin"
"Death Before Dismember"

Final Rating
Awesome [8.5/10]

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Exhumed (SWE) - Obscurity (Demo) [1990]

Oh, the wonderful Swedish death metal scene of the nineties. This is quite possibly the greatest scene of all time. Just about every death metal band from there kicked severe amounts of ass, whether it was the giants like Entombed, Grave, Dismember, Unleashed, etc or if it were the bands making a name for themselves in the underground through their awesome demos like Desultory, Excruciate, Edge of Sanity, or the subject of today's entry, Exhumed. Normally when people think of death metal demos from Sweden, it's the usual suspects like Nihilist and Nirvana 2002 who both had legendary demo collections that were highly influential, but Exhumed's "Obscurity" demo is quite magnificent as well, yet it remains a hidden gem. 

For those of you who know about this band and have had the pleasure of hearing this demo, you know just how great it is. The sound is extremely raw and primitive, but is there really a better way to create old school Swedeath? The guitar tone is thick, heavy and dirty which makes each mid-paced riff that much more awesome. It also makes the tremolo riffs found on "Obscurity" seem heavier than your typical death metal tremolo burst. The tone of the guitars is also highlighted during the more melodic moments, especially the ending of "Satanic Verses" which features a great melodic passage that has that eerie, yet beautiful sound to it that those Swedish bastards are famous for. Exhumed also shows that they're not afraid to go faster than the average Swedeath band, especially on the opening track "Obscure Desolation." If you cannot headbang to the riffs in this song then you shouldn't be listening to metal. 

While not as legendary as the Nihilist demos, "Obscurity" is a brilliant piece of Swedish death metal history that everyone needs to take notice of. Oh, and stay away from the later stuff the band does as Morpheus, because you will be extremely disappointed after hearing this. 

"Obscure Desolation"
"Satanic Verses"
"What Life Has Brought"

Final Rating
Awesome [8.7/10]

Monday, December 5, 2011

Ripping Corpse - Dreaming With the Dead [1991]

The death metal scene during the nineties in New York and the upper east coast was one of the stronger American metal scenes, and the thrash scene wasn't too shabby either. Well, Ripping Corpse proves to be the best of both genres. After releasing three monstrous demos, the band unleashed what is quite possibly the greatest death/thrash album ever, "Dreaming With the Dead." This isn't your typical death/thrash album, though. While most death/thrash bands made their mark by pushing the limits of extremity for the thrash genre, Ripping Corpse had a sound that hasn't really ever been duplicated. 

One of the major reasons why the band's sound hasn't been completely ripped off by dozens of new bands, is because of the absolutely evil sounding guitar tone. Think Infernal Majesty on "None Shall Defy," only much darker and sinister. In addition to the tone, the riffs throughout this record are top-notch and have a lot of variety. The opening track "Sweetness" has an amazing arsenal of riffs on it's own. The song opens with some morbid sounding chords and Scott Ruth's vocals which sound like a much more understandable version of John Tardy, before turning into a nice midpaced riff that eventually transforms into an amazing riff that is impossible to not headbang to. The title track and "Rift of Hate" utilize the awesome guitar tone the best by bringing in some more doomy riffs and melodies to accompany the blistering fast thrash riffs. Another small, yet vital part of the overall atmosphere created on "Dreaming With the Dead" comes from the inclusion of the fast, one to two bar solos that guitarists Rutan and Kelly manage to weave in randomly throughout the album. The song "Beyond Humanity" is the best example of this. 

Another real highlight of the album are the vocals. As mentioned earlier, Scott Ruth sounds like John Tardy of Obituary, but less throaty and with some slight vocal tendencies similar to those of Max Cavalera on the early Sepultura albums. His vocals really stand out during the more midpaced moments, where he can add his voice to take the parts over the top, especially during the chorus of "Anti God." Brandon Thomas' work behind the drum kit on this record has got to be one of the most underrated performances on any kind of death or thrash metal record. The drums add an intense amount of speed, whether Thomas is blasting away or just destroying his double bass pedals, the speed on "Dreaming With the Dead" reaches tempos faster than some grindcore records. 

In the end, there will never be an album that can capture what Ripping Corpse did on this one. The evil and dark atmosphere, the speed, solos, riffs, melodies, vocals and everything in between. This album is just flawless in every way and I can't find anything to complain about, other than Ripping Corpse not continuing on, but that's for another day. If you haven't heard this album, get on it ASAP. 

"Anti God"
"Through the Skin to the Soul"

Final Rating
Masterpiece [9.7/10]

Nasum - Inhale/Exhale [1998]

Sweden's pretty well known for always putting out fast music. Evil death metal, heavy grindcore and brutal crust and d-beat. Nasum was definitely one of the best bands to come from this country and their debut full length album, "Inhale/Exhale" is proof of that. Nasum's sound was very fast and very death metal and d-beat influenced. They blended the signature Swedish death metal riffs with the speed and agility of d-beat bands like Discharge.

 "Inhale/Exhale" is an incredibly fast, heavy and insane album. It's also one of the first albums to have that signature Scandinavian grindcore sound. That heavy, groovy, fast and punk as fuck sound made famous by Nasum and Finland's Rotten Sound. That signature sound still remains strong in the Scandinavian grind scene nowadays with great bands like Coldworker and Gadget.

The guitars on the album have a very fast, death metal sound to them but there is absolutely no doubt that this is a grindcore album, with the extreme use of d-beat tempos and hardcore punk riffs. The solos are also very influenced by those of the old school Swedish death metal tyrants like Entombed and Dismember. The drums are a lot of fast blast beats but there's also of use of d-beats in the drumming as well. There is a lot of groove on this album that adds to the music. It's the kind of groove that is just perfect for a good mosh pit.

Unfortunately, the band came to an end when Mieszko Talarczyk (vocals & guitars) was a victim of the 2004 Tsunami disaster in Thailand. The band declared that it would be quits on May 26th, 2005. Although, Nasum have stated that they will be playing shows and festivals all over the world in 2012 in celebration of their (would be) 20 year anniversary. So if you like fast, groovy, brutal, punk as fuck grindcore, then you should listen to Nasum. Get prepared to have your shit blasted to bits.

"The Masked Face"
"Time to Act!"
"When Science Fails"

Final Rating 
Awesome [8.7/10]

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Bolt Thrower - The IVth Crusade [1992]

Where do you go after releasing three awesome albums in a row? Do you stick with what brought you to the forefront and risk being labeled as generic or repetitive? Or do you take an even bigger risk and tweak your sound? Well, this question is pretty irrelevant when the band you're in happens to be Bolt Thrower. "The IVth Crusade" isn't a departure from their normal sound, in fact you could say they took a step back. The band's previous full-length "War Master" saw them at their most savage since "In Battle There Is No Law!" and it also saw the band lose that doomy guitar tone. On this record, however, that sound returns and so does the crushing mid-paced massacre that was found on "Realm of Chaos."

One of the main reasons that "War Master" was such a flawless album was because of the drums. The double bass pedals resembled heavy artillery machine guns and added a lot of heaviness and speed. On this record, the drums aren't as much of a stand-out, but there are still plenty of great fills that add to the overall heaviness of "The IVth Crusade." Karl Willets' trend of heavy vocals continues here and I can't think of a better vocalist for this war-themed troop. The solos are also great and much like the ones on "War Master" they stray away from the Slayer worship and fit the music beautifully. It's little things like this that add to the epic sound on this record. Remember people, it's the little things that matter.

As mentioned earlier, this is Bolt Thrower's most epic album yet. The songs are all relatively longer, heavier and more doomy. Just listen to the intros on the title track and "This Time It's War." Extremely heavy powerchords with some melodic tendencies always fit the mold for an epic feel. The doom elements also appear later on in some songs like "Spearhead" and "Celestial Sanctuary." But Bolt Thrower never overdoes it with the slower parts and they always manage to keep the listener interested by mixing in assortments of death metal style tremolo bursts or headbang-friendly mid-maced riffs. 

Once again, Bolt Thrower provides us with another masterpiece and continues to prove why they are the greatest death metal band to ever grace this earth. While this album may not be as strong as it's predecessor, there is no reason why anyone who's enjoyed the band's previous work can't enjoy this one. 

"The IVth Crusade"
"Where Next to Conquer"

Final Rating
Masterpiece [9.1/10]

Bolt Thrower - War Master [1991]

Bolt Thrower absolutely needed to deliver nothing short of a masterpiece with their third full-length "War Master." After releasing two awesome albums, there's definitely a lot of pressure to make something memorable, but there's even more pressure when the album is being released in 1991, which is quite possibly the greatest year for death metal releases ever. Classic albums like "Mental Funeral," "Like An Ever Flowing Stream," "Into the Grave," "Clandestine," "The Ten Commandments" and several others were all released in the same year. Luckily for Bolt Thrower, they released not only their best album, but a flawless death metal record to be cherished until the end of time. 

Everything about this album is amazing. Karl Willetts' vocals are just as destructive, if not more, than on the first two records. When he bellows "CENOTAPH!" at the beginning of the song with the same name, it sends chills down your spine. The bass is also extremely heavy and plays a vital part in the overall sound, which by the way, is heavier than a cinder block smashing your skull. One of the more surprising improvements on this album was the solos. Bolt Thrower went from the very Slayer-esque solo style to coherent and rather memorable solos that fit perfectly with the songs here. But the real show-stealer here is Andrew Whale's performance behind the kit. Every time the double bass pedal hits, it's almost as if a shot is being fired by a cannon off in the warzone. 

Of course I'd be a fool to not mention all of the riffs. On the band's previous effort "Realm of Chaos," we saw Bolt Thrower downtune their axes and we felt each doom-laden riff and every bone-vibrating chug. On "War Master," though, the band must have started listening to the American death metal bands because they tuned their guitars back up and found a much sharper tone similar to Death or Morbid Angel, only Bolt Thrower's sound was a lot heavier. Despite the less doomy tone, the songs here are even more doomy than before. That may sound idiotic, but once you listen to the intro of "Profane Creation" or the first verse of "Cenotaph" you will understand. One of the best parts about the band's decision to doom it the fuck up, is that it makes the faster moments seem even faster, especially when the thunderous double bass pedals are following suit. 

This is easily Bolt Thrower's best work. "War Master" retains the doomy essence of "Realm of Chaos" but also has the aggression and relentlessness of "In Battle There Is No Law!" There isn't a single weak track here either. Every song could make a death metal "Greatest Hits" collection and everyone could be the soundtrack to a medieval battle. In other words, this album is perfect.

"War Master"

Final Rating
Perpetual Endless Torment[10/10]